Cuba is a country seemingly frozen in time -- in 1959. Photo opportunities are everywhere, literally. Classic American cars from the 40's and 50's with a backdrop of grand but decaying architecture makes for some of the most exciting travel photography. The Cuban people are warm, welcoming, and very photogenic. We center our attention on two of Cuba's dynamic cities -- Havana and Trinidad -- and this will give you ample time to interact with the local people, find wonderful photo opportunities, and learn photography techniques as well -- fill flash, wide angle composition, how to deal with mid-day contrast, Photoshop compositing, changing backgrounds, and more. It will be fascinating to explore a country that has been forbidden to Americans since 1960. You will have a legal license to visit this island nation, and we stay in five star hotels for maximum comfort and Internet access. Visit Cuba now before it modernizes and loses its incredible charm.
VISIT THE GALLERY
Day 1, Mon. November 14. Arrive in Miami before 5:30pm and take the free shuttle to the Hilton Hotel 3 1/2 miles from the airport. At 7:30pm Jim will give an orientation and answer questions about the tour in the lobby of the hotel, and he will find out what people most want to learn so he can help you get the most out of the trip. At this time, he will discuss important photographic considerations that will help you get the best pictures possible. Overnight Hilton Miami Airport Hotel.
Day 2, Tue. November 15. We transfer to the airport for our early morning chartered flight to Cuba. We need to check in 3 or 4 hours prior to departure. Upon arrival, we meet our local guide, have lunch, and check into the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel in Old Havana. This large 5-star hotel is ideally situated by the central park where Jim will show you some fantastic shots right across from our hotel. In the evening, we will enjoy one of the most spectacular stage shows ever at the Tropicana which was established in 1939 and which served as inspiration for the flamboyant shows in Las Vegas. This is a nostalgic leftover from the pre-revolutionary period. Overnight Iberostar Parque Central Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 3, Wed. November 16. After breakfast we will drive to Cojimar and La Vigia to visit Hemingway's house, now a museum. We'll photograph the picturesque town of Cojimar, looking for architectural details, old cars, and people. We will then leave Havana (we return for more photography in this dynamic city in two days) for the drive to Trinidad, the UNESCO world heritage site. We stop for a quick lunch and continue to the Iberostar Trinidad Hotel, a lovely boutique hotel totally renovated and within walking distance of the old part of the town. Dinner will be at the hotel followed by an evening walk to the Casa de la Musica, where the locals meet to dance and sing. Overnight Iberostar Trinidad Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 4, Thur. November 17. After an early morning photo session walking through Trinidad, and after breakfast, we go by bus to the Valley of the Sugarmills with many stops on the way to see the enchanting scenery. We visit the Manaca Iznaga tower from where the sugar mill owners could view their slaves working in the fields. After lunch, we return to Trinidad to catch the evening sunset along the narrow cobblestoned streets and the multi-colored houses. Overnight Iberostar Trinidad Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 5, Fri. November 18. We get an early start after breakfast and head to Cienfuegos, a beautiful harbor city with great architecture and lovely streets. We spend the morning exploring the tropical setting, the colonial architecture, and always on the lookout for great cars. We have lunch at the yacht club, and later in the day return to Havana. Overnight Iberostar Parque Central Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 6, Sat. November 19. In Old Havana we will explore the cobblestoned streets, the colonial architecture in various states of decay, and look for old cars, photogenic faces, and graphic details that can produce fine art images. The locals readily pose for the camera. In the late afternoon, we have a photo session with classic American cars and a model (or two) where we can choose an iconic location that says Cuba. Dinner will be at a privately owned paladar where you can engage with the owner and discuss how the law about private enterprises has allowed him to earn real money. Overnight Iberostar Parque Central Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 7, Sun. November 20. This morning we drive to a dance studio to photograph the students perform a unique style of Cuban music and dance, and then we visit the new section of Havana called Miramar to see the mansions along the famous 5th Avenue. We also visit the incredible home of famous Cuban artist Jose Fuster where we can photograph his Dali-esque mosaic fantasies. It's fascinating. After lunch, we tour to the Colon Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in the world. Return to the hotel in the afternoon and enjoy some leisure time. You might want to stroll down to the Malecon (the seafront) to shoot sunset on the lighthouse as well as capture portraits in the beautiful low angled light. Overnight Iberostar Parque Central Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 8, Mon. November 21. This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to Miami and to make our connection home, satisfied in knowing that our photographic experience in Cuba has been amazing and that our pictures are fantastic. (B)
Tour cost: $4695
Includes: All lodging in Cuba in 5-star hotels, Hilton Hotel in Miami, all meals, all ground transportation and all sight seeing, tour/photo session in old American cars, best seats in the house for the cabaret performance, English speaking guide, photo models, photo instruction.
Not included: International airfare (the airfare from Miami to Cuba will be done as a group and ticketed by a travel agency -- it is about $400 to $500 per person round trip), approximately $100 visa fee for legal permission to visit Cuba, airport tax going to Havana (paid at the Miami airport), mandatory $4/day Cuban medical insurance, items of a personal nature, tips to local guide and bus driver.
Single supplement: $670
To reserve a spot on this photo tour, a $1000 deposit is required. Final payment is due 90 days prior to travel. Cancellations up to 31 days prior to travel are 50% refundable. If you cancel 30 days or less before trave, 100% is non-refundable. These are the conditions of the tour operator Jim uses for Cuba. It is recommended that you buy trip insurance for this trip to protect your investment.
NOTE: The mandatory insurance required by Cuba will not get an ill person home (medical evacuation) and does not provide cancellation or interuption insurance. A separate policy is available to you upon request.